Cleanliness is one of the top factors men look for when choosing a barbershop. Maintaining a clean and tidy shop and having a high level of personal hygiene will mean clients subconsciously build trust in you.
Personal hygiene refers to cleaning and caring for your body. Maintaining good personal hygiene is necessary for personal, social and health reasons, however it is particularly important in the barbershop as you come into regular close contact with clients. Ensuring that you maintain a high level of personal hygiene will reduce risk of cross-infection and cross-contamination. Many businesses will have a clear set of guidelines for staff to follow – this avoids confusion and ensures everyone maintains the same high standard.
There are many ways to ensure that you maintain a high level of personal hygiene and presentation, avoiding offending your client and losing their business.
As barbers, we work in close contact with several clients every day. Body odour can therefore be a major issue, especially on a hot, sunny day when the hairdryers are going full blast!
Bathing or showering daily, wearing clean clothes and the use of anti perspirants will reduce the risk of body odour.
Fresh breath is vital! Brush your teeth at least twice a day and avoid eating strong smelling foods such as garlic or onions for lunch. And all you smokers out there – a quick wash of the hands and a mint does not make the smell disappear, so timing is crucial. If you are about to do a facial massage with a shave, try not to smoke beforehand so that you don’t offend your client – after all, a client will not return for a bad smelling treatment.
Some services require you to be in your client’s personal space – especially when shaving or cutting facial hair. Hands should be washed regularly throughout the day to keep them clean and remove dirt and product, and nails should be kept neat, clean and tidy.
As a barber you MUST look after your hair. After all, if you cannot look after your own hair why should clients trust you with theirs? Keep your hair clean, grease-free and in style. In this industry, people will judge a book by its cover.
Some barbershops have a uniform requirement – they may provide you with branded tops, or you may be asked to wear a certain colour scheme - and some barbershops let you wear what you want. It is part of the job to get your clothes covered in hair, so it is a good idea to separate your work clothes from your other clothes. Many barbers wear aprons, which will protect you to a certain extent.
Comfort is key when is comes to choosing work shoes. Barbers are on their feet for long periods of time and you do not want to be uncomfortable or in pain for the best part of the day. For safety reasons, most salons and barbershops will not allow open-toed sandals – this is a prevention of hair splinters and in case you drop anything sharp or heavy which could cause major injury. Also avoid wearing dirty or scuffed shoes as this will not make a good impression with clients.
Personal Protective Equipment
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is protective clothing designed to protect the wearer’s body from injury or infection. In barbering, common PPE includes gowns, towels, aprons and gloves. It is also good practise in a barbershop to use neck strips or tissues before putting on a gown to avoid cross-contamination with the gown. Also, when cutting facial hair it is important to make sure the client’s eyes are protected with eye protectors, such as cotton pads.
As barbers we are part of the fashion industry and the image we portray should reflect this. How we look is a big part of our individual personality. Clothes, shoes, tattoos, jewellery and most importantly hair all change with the fashion. Barbers and hairdressers therefore need to stay up to date to ensure they stay relevant to their clients.